London: Andy Murray admitted reaching his first Wimbledon final with a nerve-wracking 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday was one of the most emotional moments of his life.
Murray survived a frenzied assault from Tsonga over the final two sets before finally killing off the French fifth seed to become the first British man to reach the Wimbledon final since Bunny Austin in 1938.
The 25-year-old Scot, who will face six-time champion Roger Federer in Sunday's final, pointed to the heavens immediately after the match and appeared on the verge of crying tears of joy several times before leaving Centre Court
World number four Murray, who has yet to win a Grand Slam, revealed the significance of the moment had almost overwhelmed him as he contemplated fulfilling his and a nation's dreams.
"It's just difficult, there's a lot of pressure on the court, a lot of stress but you need to think about the next point and not what has happened in the past," he said.
"It's just a big relief. It was a very emotional end to the match - one of the biggest matches of my life. It's tough to explain.
"It was such a close match. Both of us had chances, I was up a break, he came back, then he had break points at 4-4 in the fourth and I managed to hang tough enough."
The match ended amid high drama, with a cross-court forehand from Murray being referred to a Hawkeye challenge before the win was confirmed.
"I knew it was in, I thought he challenged, they said it was called out so I challenged," Murray added.
"I had started the match really well, served well, but he came back, started serving better and hit some great volleys. I did well to hang in because he started to play really well."
Murray has lost two previous Grand Slam final meetings with Federer at the 2008 US Open and the 2010 Australian Open, but he holds a slender advantage over the Swiss great in their career head-to-head.
"I have played Roger in finals before and need to learn from them. He's playing great tennis," Murray added.
"It's been a great tournament so far and hopefully I can go one better."
While Murray can look forward to the biggest match of his life, there were mixed emotions for Tsonga, who has now lost in the Wimbledon semi-finals for the last two years.
While Tsonga, beaten by Novak Djokovic at this stage 12 months ago, was frustrated to fall one match short of the final again, the 27-year-old conceded he had been out-played for long periods on Centre Court.
"At the beginning it was tough because he played well. I mean, he didn't give me one chance to go to the net and he didn't miss one serve," Tsonga said.
"He was really, really good. After that his level was a bit down in the third set and I took my chance.
"But then he broke me in the fourth. I think he deserved it, and that's it.
"Even in the loss, I'm still proud of what I did. I kept fighting."
Tsonga has a well-earned reputation as one of the more light-hearted members of the men's game and even a ferocious volley that Murray drilled into his groin area from close range couldn't stop the Frenchman raising a smile.
The pain from the shot briefly left Tsonga doubled over on the court but, asked if he had ever experienced any similar in the past, he joked: "Never. But I will have my revenge one time!"
Tsonga's good humour even extended to the moment when his Wimbledon dreams were finally shattered.
With the crowd out of their seats believing Murray's shot was in, the players met at the net and exchanged a smile while waiting for the Hawkeye replay to confirm the winner.
"I knew the ball was quite wide, but whether it was in or out I didn't know," Tsonga said.
"Andy asked me, 'How is it?'. I said I really don't know. That's why we laughed."